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I am noticing that a lot of people answer questions in comments rather than formal answers. I don't understand this.

Doesn't that mean the question will stay on the home screen as unanswered, or am I misunderstanding?

Here is an example: How to force users on my LAN to use a specific DNS server using ARP poisoning?

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  • Can you give us specifics. Is it a full answer, or is it a hint for how to come up with an answer? – Ron Maupin Sep 24 '18 at 1:43
  • Full asnwer, but in the comments. I am trying to understand why someone would do that and how it effects the site and the question itself. – CellPointNetworks Sep 24 '18 at 1:46
  • Please edit your question to include a link to an example of what you mean. – Ron Maupin Sep 24 '18 at 1:50
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Your example comment is not actually a full answer for this site, but a hint on how to do it. A full answer would require more information from the user. We need to know what the network looks like (good description or diagram), the network device models, and network device configurations).

Look at the Network Engineering Question Checklist for the type of information we need in order to give a full answer.

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  • Interesting. Does that mean that the asker of the question can't accept it as a full answer, according to the site rules? – CellPointNetworks Sep 24 '18 at 2:00
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    The user could, but a real answer would give the users the configuration on the router or firewall (based on the user's existing configuration) for how to accomplish the goal. Sometimes, users only need the hint, but somethimes, they will ask a followup in the comments where we need to explain that the solution requires more information. We need to assume the user has a reasonable level of knowledge, else we risk insulting the user. – Ron Maupin Sep 24 '18 at 2:04
  • Thanks. So if the question goes without a formally submitted answer what effect does that have on the question within the site? – CellPointNetworks Sep 24 '18 at 2:08
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    It will remain open and pop up from time-to-time, looking for an answer. It may get a comment about being too broad, and put on hold for that reason, until the OP modifies the question. A question on hold will eventually be automatically closed for lack of activity, then eventually deleted for the same reason. – Ron Maupin Sep 24 '18 at 2:10
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    @CellPointNetworks, one interesting perspective is that it is encouraged for users to answer their own questions and accept the answer. If a hint helps the user, the user can then answer his own question and accept the answer. It often only takes a hint or a question that leads the user to the answer for his specific circumstances. – Ron Maupin Sep 24 '18 at 2:19
  • re: "It will remain open and pop up from time-to-time, looking for an answer" actually, the Community user only bumps questions that already have answers that is not accepted, or scoring zero and/or lower (more detail on MSE). No-answer questions won't be bumped at all. – Andrew T. Sep 24 '18 at 4:10
  • @AndrewT., even the link you provided says, "Randomly poke old unanswered questions* every hour so they get some attention." Unanswered questions do pop up from time-to-time, at least here. – Ron Maupin Sep 24 '18 at 12:17
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I would also point out, if I can answer your question in the space (and limited formatting) of a comment, you're question is possibly of very low value/quality.

(for the record, this very answer is such a "comment quality answer")

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